Thursday, January 12, 2006

Fire Someone Today

Some great postings on being an entrepreneur.

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A few weeks ago the Economist ran a story subtitled “being second best is underrated.” It points out that “Ford, Burger King and Target do not have documentary-makers queuing up to attack them” the way GM, McDonald’s and Wal-Mart do, and that Apple’s doesn’t have as many hackers attacking its operating system as Microsoft.

Among the other benefits of second place:

You have more room to grow.
Number one takes all the heat for unpopular industry practices.
Underdogs get nicer press.
It is easier to innovate if you are not the standard-bearer.
Jack Welch famously said that you should be number one or number two in a category or get out. There is a lot to be said for being number two.


Honoring your posted hours is about being trustworthy and respecting your customers. It is the absolute minimum standard for a retail business. Padding your hours like Starbucks, which opens ten minutes early and closes ten minutes late, delights instead of annoys customers. Weren't you grateful the last time you rushed to get somewhere before they closed and were let in 5 minutes after closing time?

Plus some great warning labels.

a label on a kitchen knife that warns: “Never try to catch a falling knife.”
warning on a cocktail napkin. The napkin has a map of the waterways around Hilton Head, South Carolina printed on it along with this: “Caution: Not to be used for navigation.”
a warning label he found on a bottle of dried bobcat urine made to keep rodents and other pests away from garden plants. It says: “Not for human consumption.”
warning label on a baking pan: “Ovenware will get hot when used in oven.”

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